Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in Haiti

Ambassador Cherith Norman-Chalet
Acting Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 20, 2020


Thank you Mr. President, and thank you Special Representative La Lime for your comprehensive briefing on the situation in Haiti. The United States is grateful for the excellent work you and your team have done in support of political and economic stability in Haiti.

Thank you as well, Director Gilles, for your briefing, and for your support for good governance and human rights.

The United States re-iterates the essential role of civil society and condemns reprisals against it. In January Mr. President, we observed the ten-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed more than 200,000 Haitians and 102 UN personnel. The United States stands with the people of Haiti—not only as they continue to recover from this tragedy, but also as we work together to build a better future.

While today’s briefing outlined intense efforts to promote dialogue, the United States remains concerned by the lack of real political progress. The United State has made clear that Haiti’s leaders must come together to find an inclusive solution. Political and economic stability will only follow when Haiti’s leaders set aside their differences and both build and support Haiti’s state institutions.

Despite months of political gridlock, and deteriorating humanitarian and economic conditions, Haiti is operating without a seated government following the expiration of the terms of most members of Parliament. So, I repeat, there must be dialogue, and there must be a political accord. Time is of the essence.

Haiti must hold legislative elections as soon as technically feasible, ultimately forming a fully functioning government that is responsive to the needs of its people. The Haitian people must have a voice in selecting their leaders. Further, while constitutional reforms are necessary and welcome, they must not become a pretext to delay elections.

We also reiterate the importance of BINUH’s efforts and the role of the good offices of SRSG La Lime in bringing the parties together. But we must also stress that only Haiti’s leaders, both in the government and the opposition, can make the decisions that are necessary to break the political impasse, and to address the underlying drivers of instability.

Many of the benchmark targets and baselines outlined in the SG’s report will be frozen in place as long as Haiti’s political stalemate persists. Political polarization has affected governance and inhibited important decisions by the government.

We acknowledge the additional progress made by the Haitian National Police (HNP) and its increasing professionalization. However, the HNP continues to face increasing operational pressures, budget constraints, and governmental inaction. As the SG’s report notes, without timely and sufficient funding, the HNP cannot fulfill its public safety mandate.

We continue to call for accountability for human rights abuses and corruption, and we reiterate here the need for the Government of Haiti to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the La Saline and Bel Air violence.

We also note with concern that key social indicators point to rising vulnerability, with food insecurity, a weak health sector, and general household resilience all trending in the wrong direction.

In the coming weeks, Haiti’s leaders must set aside their differences. While they work to that end, the United States remains committed to the success of BINUH and, above all, to the people of Haiti as they work to address their nation’s challenges.

Thank you.